John T. Bennett

Trump declines to endorse Jeff Sessions’ Senate bid — but doesn't deliver death knell
President says of House Democrats in impeachment probe: ‘We're kicking their ass’

Donald Trump on Friday declined to endorse Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general he fired after several clashes, as the Alabama Republican seeks the Senate seat he held for decades before joining the administration.

But he also did not demand the former AG end his bid on its first full day, giving Sessions’ campaign life — because of “nice” things the Alabaman said about the president on television. As he departed the White House for fundraisers and an event with black voters, he also told reporters during another wild “Chopper Talk” gaggle he is “kicking their ass,” referring to House Democrats in their impeachment probe.

3 takeaways after Trump rallies in Louisiana: President takes ownership of governor’s race
GOP Sen. Kennedy urges voters at Monroe rally to resist being ‘happy with crappy’

ANALYSIS — Donald Trump had a very special announcement for supporters Wednesday night in Monroe, Louisiana. It was one that shows the extent to which the president is taking ownership of — and rolling the dice on — the tight race for the governor’s mansion there.

“By the way, this Saturday … I’m going to be at a certain game,” a smiling Trump said. “Let’s see, it’s LSU versus a pretty good team from Alabama. … I’m a football fan, I hear you have a great quarterback. We’re going to see him,” he said of Joe Burrow, the star QB of the No. 2 Tigers. “But I’m actually going to the game. I said: That’s the game I want to go to.

Gloom and doom in Louisiana: Trump warns of deep ‘depression’ if he loses in 2020
President tries to swing governor’s race toward Republican Eddie Rispone

Using his typical brash rhetoric, President Donald Trump on Wednesday night warned a Louisiana rally crowd to expect economic gloom and doom if he is defeated next November.

“You will have a depression the likes of which you’ve never seen before,” he said.

Trump, GOP senators throw themselves a party to celebrate judicial overhaul
Mitch McConnell to POTUS: ‘Boy, you didn’t blow it. Neil Gorsuch is an all-star’

President Donald Trump and Republican senators took a victory lap  Wednesday to celebrate their push to put nearly 150 of their picks on federal benches from coast to coast.

“It starts with Mitch — because you never gave me a call and said, ‘Maybe we can do it an easier way,’” Trump said during a lively ceremony in the White House’s ornate East Room.

Tuesday elections show Trump coattails are mostly rural, experts say
POTUS reelection effort hinges out turning out base in greater numbers

Tuesday’s election results show Republican candidates should be wary of nationalizing their races and the Trump campaign continues to hemorrhage voters that have long been under the GOP tent, political experts and strategists say.

Though analysts still see President Donald Trump as a formidable candidate as he seeks a second term, some say Republican candidates in suburban areas should resist “nationalizing” their races the way Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin did. The Republican state chief executive ran as a true Trump Republican — but appears to have lost his reelection bid to Democratic state Attorney General Andy Beshear.

‘The Giuliani problem’ and other takeaways from diplomats’ impeachment testimony
Officials’ statements to lawmakers sketch organizational, policy confusion

Kurt Volker knew by early July that he and other Trump administration officials had a problem. More precisely, he realized, “There’s a Giuliani problem here.”

That is what the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine told the House panels leading Democrats’ impeachment inquiry just weeks ago, referring to Rudolph Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney. The former U.S. attorney and New York City mayor is at the forefront of testimony that Volcker and Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, gave the House committees. Giuliani’s name comes up over and over, with both officials raising concerns about his role in American diplomacy despite having no government position.

The way Trump weaves economy, impeachment in reelection messaging
‘Your 401(K)s, how you doing? Pretty good?’ president says in Kentucky before warning of ‘overthrow’

President Donald Trump’s campaign aides and surrogates say his top argument for a second term is the economy. Yet, at a campaign rally Monday night in Kentucky, the president repeatedly chased his economic sales pitch with a shot of impeachment.

Relatively early in his Lexington rally — the expressed purpose of which was to boost GOP Gov. Matt Bevin’s reelection bid in Tuesday’s election there — Trump launched into one of his favorite bits about the economy.

Trump urges reelection of ‘pain in the ass’ Kentucky governor as a 2020 ‘message’
McConnell touts his judicial nominees strategy at Lexington rally: ‘Leave no vacancy behind’

President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled a new attack on Democrats one year ahead of the 2020 election, saying at a rally in Kentucky that the party wants to enact an “authoritarian agenda.”

Trump also vowed to return to the state “many times” to campaign for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who faces what some political experts call a serious Democratic challenge from Amy McGrath. Trump also urged Kentucky voters to reelect their “pain in the ass” incumbent Republican governor, Matt Bevin, to “send a message” about Trump’s own coattails.

Trump brings up impeachment during Nationals White House celebration
President praises players' hair and teases Nats pitcher Sanchez

President Donald Trump almost stuck to the script Monday as the Washington Nationals brought their gleaming World Series championship trophy to the White House. Almost.

House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry was clearly as on his mind after a morning of firing off tweets slamming Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff and the whistleblower who formally raised concerns about Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukraine’s new president.

Trump thrives amid turmoil, and is banking that voters won’t mind
The president admitted of the even more chaotic environment: ‘I sort of thrive on it’

Donald Trump’s presidency has thrust the United States into plenty of unprecedented territory and it could again if the brash, testosterone-fueled campaign he is sculpting becomes the first featuring an impeached incumbent chief executive.

Political insiders from both parties, echoed by nonpartisan experts, said all summer that forecasting the 2020 presidential race was almost impossible for a raft of reasons. Then came Sept. 24.

Trump has no China trade pact, but he does have a signing location in mind
2020 battleground state of Iowa is president’s preferred spot

President Donald Trump gave no indication Friday he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are closer to signing a “Phase One” trade pact, but he does have a place in mind where a signing event for it could happen — a battleground state that has borne the brunt of the U.S.-China trade war.

“It could even be in Iowa,” he told reporters on the White House South Lawn as he departed for a campaign rally in Mississippi. “I would do it in the U.S. He would too,” he added, speaking for Xi.

Three things to watch when World Series champions Nationals visit White House
Will Trump address that ‘Lock him up!’ chant from Game 5 in D.C.?

The Washington Nationals are headed to the White House on Monday, broken World Series trophy and all, to celebrate their first championship in franchise history with President Donald Trump.

Bang! Zoom!

White House, GOP allies shift to Clintonesque counterimpeachment message
‘Pelosi won’t bring those bills to the floor because she is infatuated with impeachment,’ WH spox says

The White House and its Republican allies on Thursday slightly shifted their counterimpeachment messaging to one that more closely resembles that of President Bill Clinton’s West Wing messaging during his own House investigation.

Former aides to the 42nd president have offered free advice to the Trump White House for several weeks, suggesting the 45th chief executive and his top administration aides focus on what President Donald Trump is still trying to accomplish to benefit Americans in their everyday lives.

Often-talkative Trump goes quiet amid impeachment testimony, slowing economy
‘It’s almost like he is low energy these days,’ Democratic strategist says

ANALYSIS | All week, reporters at the White House have waited for the announcement over the loudspeaker instructing the day’s press pool to report for duty pronto for unplanned presidential remarks. But, so far, the speaker has remained mostly silent — just like President Donald Trump.

Even during a term that has featured — at the time, at least — what felt like consequential weeks, this one quickly took on a different feel.

White House scrambles to get Trump, Xi together for trade pact signing after Chile axes summit
President and aides are eager for another foreign policy win amid Dems’ impeachment probe

Eager for another foreign policy win, White House officials are scrambling for a Plan B for President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign a “phase one” trade pact after Chile canceled an Asia-Pacific economic summit.

“We’re still working on it,” acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told CQ Roll Call as he exited the office of Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, where West Wing aides have been discussing alternative plans.

By praising Baghdadi-cornering K-9, Trump stirs Islam’s complicated dog history — and his own
President praises ‘beautiful’ military animal but has used ‘like a dog’ to hammer his critics, rivals

President Donald Trump has singled out a U.S. military dog that helped corner Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before he killed himself during a Saturday mission in Syria. In doing so, he has waded into the Middle East’s — and his own — complicated history with the species.

As he announced the extremist group leader’s death in Sunday morning remarks from the White House, the commander in chief sent mixed messages about canines. It was difficult to determine how Trump, widely known as not a big animal fan, feels about dogs, even as he described the Syria raid.

Trump walks back claim of defeating ‘100% of the ISIS caliphate’
At law enforcement event in Chicago, president says figure is closer to 70 percent

A day after announcing the death of Islamic State leader Abu al-Baghdadi, President Donald Trump climbed down from his long-uttered claim that his administration completely wiped out the group’s declared caliphate.

The commander in chief has tweeted seven times a version of the claim that, in his words from a tweet posted just two weeks ago, his administration is responsible for “defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate.”

Islamic State group leader in Syria killed by U.S. military, Trump announces
‘He died like a dog,’ president says in statement from the White House

U.S. military special operations forces killed the leader of the Islamic State group in northwest Syria, President Donald Trump announced Sunday.  The action comes just weeks after Trump  announced the withdrawal of American troops from that country.

“Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead,” Trump said during a morning statement from the White House. “He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone.”

‘Chopper talk’: Behold Donald Trump’s big 2020 impeachment bet
Spolier alert: It’s still all about the base to the president

ANALYSIS — Call it President Donald Trump’s big impeachment bet. And, in signature fashion, he’s going all in.

The president made clear Friday he plans to use House Democrats’ inquiry to fire up his base as he bids for a second term. He labeled as “phony” the investigation into his Ukraine policy and his requests for its government to investigate top Democrats and said his base is steamed and not simply going to take it.

Trump to attend World Series Game 5 in Washington, if it’s needed
But president isn’t sure about throwing out the first pitch at Nationals Park

President Donald Trump said Thursday he plans to attend Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night if the Houston Astros can extend the Major League Baseball finale against the Washington Nationals.

But the former United States Football League team owner and noted sports fan expressed doubts about throwing out the first pitch at Nationals Park.